St. James’ Episcopal Church, churches of Lafayette Square to conduct Annual Blessing of City Palm Sunday

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— Political leaders in Baltimore will join the community and churches in Lafayette Square for the 13th Annual Blessing of the City on Sunday, March 20, 2016 at 9:30 a.m. at Lafayette Square Park bordered by West Lafayette Avenue; North Arlington Street; West Lanvale Street; and North Carrollton Street in Baltimore City.

The ecumenical Palm Sunday event will include young people from these churches who will offer prayers for those who lead our great city, the issues facing our city and the people who live here.

Lafayette Square was established in West Baltimore in 1860 and was occupied during the Civil War as Camp Hoffman for Union troops. Many historic mansions of architectural significance are part of the fabric of the Lafayette Square community. It’s the only public square in the city with five churches— four built in the 19th century.

The participating churches are: Enon Baptist Church; Greater Hope Church of God In Christ; Macedonia Baptist Church; Metropolitan United Methodist Church; St. James’ Episcopal Church; and St. John’s A.M.E. Church.

In recent years, the Blessing of the City was held in front of City Hall. However, due to the death of Freddie Gray and the resulting aftermath, which included unrest and riots in Sandtown Winchester and Upton/Druid Heights communities, just blocks away from the Lafayette Square Churches, Father Robinson, of St. James Episcopal Church, concluded that this year, the Blessing of the City should occur in Lafayette Square. Consequently, the community can be engaged in the prayers for the city while being reminded by our youth that a new day is coming, signified by Palm Sunday. Prayers from the youth will focus on healing and unity in this wonderful city of ours and include prayers to end violence, homelessness, racism and for city/state leadership, schools and first responders.

A re-enactment of Jesus riding a donkey similar to when he triumphantly rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday will take place and palms will be distributed to the community.